Delivered by: Ameirah AlHefeiti, Deputy Permanent Representative and Acting Chargé d’Affaires

Madam President,

I thank Special Representative, Mr. El-Ghassim Wane, for his briefing on the latest developments regarding the exit of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). We believe it is crucial for the Council to be kept informed of the details of this process. I also thank Mrs. Beatrice Abouya for her valuable briefing, and I welcome the participation of the Permanent Representative of Mali.

Madam President,

The UAE appreciates the UN efforts and the cooperation with Mali in preparing the withdrawal plan and the handing-over of tasks in accordance with Security Council Resolution 2690, in such a short period of time. The upcoming period will be decisive in terms of fully and effectively implementing the withdrawal plan, to help avoid any negative effects that might impede the peace process in Mali or undermine regional security and stability. Such effective implementation is also critical to help define the parameters for a new and meaningful role for the UN after the Mission’s withdrawal.

In the context of our discussion today, I would like to highlight three points:

First, ensuring MINUSMA’s orderly and safe withdrawal depends in essence on continued cooperation and coordination between the Malian authorities, the UN, and all other stakeholders.  The UAE stresses the importance of continuing the ongoing consultations between all parties to ensure the smooth completion of tasks and to prevent any obstacles that may hinder the implementation process, thereby contributing to protecting the gains made by the Malians, MINUSMA, and other international partners in Mali.

As the withdrawal process gets underway, including the gradual closure of MINUSMA camps, and the transfer of tasks to the Malian government, we believe it is important to ensure the safe delivery of MINUSMA camps and equipment in accordance with UN procedures and mutual commitments with Mali. In this context, emerging concerns must be addressed to avoid any security incidents, such as the recent one in Camp Ber. We stress the need to follow and strengthen proactive risk-planning to preserve the safety of peacekeepers and civilians.

Additionally, the serious issue of misinformation and disinformation must not be overlooked. Rather, it should be addressed by strengthening the mission’s strategic communications with the concerned authorities and sustained communication with the local population.

Second, the safety and protection of civilians must remain a matter of a central focus. MINUSMA’s withdrawal is happening at a time when civilians in Mali and the Sahel are under the threat of violence from terrorist groups, in addition to other security challenges. Their protection must therefore remain a high priority for all concerned parties. We are confident that the Malian Government will do its best in this regard.

Moreover, MINUSMA’s withdrawal takes place at a time when the humanitarian needs continue to skyrocket – so far, they have increased 17% from last year according to OCHA. We are encouraged that the UN team will remain in Mali and will continue to support local communities. The UAE supports the efforts of the UN humanitarian and development teams to restructure their presence in Mali.

Third, a re-commitment to dialogue is essential for the implementation of the Peace and Reconciliation Agreement, which remains vital to achieving stability in Mali. Accordingly, the UAE urges all parties to affirm their commitment to resuming meaningful dialogue as the optimal manner in which to resolve differences and deescalate tensions. It also provides an opportunity to build confidence and contributes to the revitalization of the Monitoring Committee and other mechanisms responsible for ensuring the full implementation of the agreement. In this regard, we affirm our support for the International Mediation efforts. 

The UAE continues to stress the importance of making progress in the political transition process, including the upcoming electoral processes outline as agreed upon with ECOWAS. We also look forward to the role that UNOWAS will play in supporting the political process in Mali.

In conclusion, the UAE affirms its support for all other regional and international efforts aimed at helping Mali achieve peace and stability.

Thank you, Madam President.